"On his face is an angelic smile, in his pocket a blood-stained 50-rupee note. Ishaq Khan, a 12-year-old schoolboy, was given the money – equivalent to just 40p – to carry a bag to a spot in a busy bazaar in Kohat, a town in the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan.Ishaq Khan is a twelve-year-old who helps his family by earning money after school, helping load trucks and buses at a local bus stop. That 50-rupee note was more than Ishaq usually earns in a week.
"As he walked away, the bag exploded, throwing him to the ground with a shattered foot and leaving shoppers dead and wounded all around him.
"In a macabre new tactic, Taliban militants have begun paying children to plant lethal bombs in Pakistani cities...." (Times Online)
Ishaq says he had no idea that the bag he was paid to take to the market was a bomb.
"When he learnt that three people had been killed and 23 injured he was horrified. 'I never imagined it was a bomb,' he said, his eyes filling with tears. 'I move bags for people all day.'
"Doctors at the hospital say his left foot has multiple fractures and the heel is completely crushed...." (Times Online)
Paying A Boy to Plant a Bomb: Not Very NiceStarting with an emotionally-charged situation like this, there are quite a number of possible topics to rant about.
It's Not the Money: It's the BombOne of the obvious 'rant' topics, to an American with my background, is the standard-issue 'child labor' complaint: how it's just awful that a mere child is forced into the degrading position of earning money to help support his family. I don't see things that way: but quite a few in this country do.
Ishaq's father earns money by painting houses - which seems to result in the Khan family having month left over at the end of their money. Some families in America have that problem too, and I'm one of those people who don't see learning responsibility and the value of effort at a young age as a bad thing.
I'm also one of those people who think that using a child as a cats-paw is wrong. (June 12, 2009)
Imams and other Muslims in Pakistan may prudently stay quiet about how Ishaq Khan was used, no matter what they think of duping a twelve-year-old into carrying a bomb. Particularly in light of what happened to Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi.
Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi is the Pakistani imam who issued a fatwa against suicide attacks. And then was killed by a suicide bomber.
Technically, what Ishaq Kahan was used for wasn't a suicide attack. The lion of Islam who gave Ishaq the package and sent him to the market stayed at a nice, safe distance.
Or, rather, it wasn't a suicide attack by my standards. I don't know what Islam assumes about cause and effect, and personal responsibility. Actually, between Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the Saudi royal family's antics, and outfits like a mosque in Toronto, I think it could be debated that there isn't a single "Islamic" view of what Islam believes. (February 6, 2008)
And, thanks in part to the understandable reticence of Muslims leaders who don't preach terrorism, outfits like the Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and whoever handed Ishaq that bomb are defining Islam for the world.
- "Sarfraz Ahmed Naeemi, Pakistani Imam: Denounced Suicide Attacks, Killed"
(June 12, 2009)
- "Using a Kid to Bomb a Mosque: Non-Western Cultural Values, Just Plain Evil, or Something Else?"
(June 12, 2009)
- "Canadian Mosque's "Specialized De-Radicalization Intervention Program" - Sounds Good"
(February 26, 2009)
- " 'Will the Real Islam, Please Stand Up?' "
(February 6, 2008)
- "With Friends Like These, Does Islam Need Enemies?"
(January 22, 2008)
- "Taliban dupe boy, 12, into planting bomb"
Times Online (June 14, 2009)